Our NBA expert Matt Wagner is predicting a Giannis inspired win for the Bucks as they reach crunch time in their Series with Boston.
Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to add to his impressive MVP-like season by recording an expected double-double and only missing 7 out of 22 free throws in last night’s Milwaukee win over the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden. The Bucks take a 2-1 series lead and are looking more dominant game after game. After losing the first game at home, the Bucks have been taking it to the rim almost every other possession and continue to hit the Celtics on the head with a shovel with Brogdon’s injury. The major key to the Celtics’ loss Friday night, was the fact that they forgot their bench players at home. Gordon Hayward hit a few threes, but missed all other opportunities from inside the arc; his fellow bench mates only contributed another 6 points. Granted to them, besides Hayward, the rest of the bench only played a combined 19 minutes and it’s freaking Celtics fans out, considering they were once known for their depth. They may have depth on the court, but once in a while, you forget that the Celtics’ starting lineup are human, and humans experience the feeling of exhaustion. The Celtics’ starters play 5.2 more minutes than the Bucks’ starters, resulting in the Celtics playing a better first half. But come second half the exhaustion starts to settle in and conquer.
Come Monday night, the Celtics are going to have to somehow keep Giannis outside the paint and not let him drive to the hoop. Sounds easy enough…right? Well if Marcus Morris and Al Harford can’t figure it out, then I don’t know who can! The Bucks have dominated in their field goal percentages and free throw attempts, but also tend to turn the ball over more than the Celtics. It seems like after every mistake the Bucks make, they make up for it by scoring 3 consecutive baskets before turning over the ball. Game 4 on Monday is going to be crucial for the Celtics, especially because they have to keep up with the Bucks in the 3rd quarter; otherwise, this series will be over in a Game 5 win back in Milwaukee.
The Celtics are the slight favorite going into this game, and it will be this closely contested matchup of the series that makes me predict that the Celtics are going to get tired and lose yet again. The spread has only been covered once in this series, and with the spread being in the Celtics’ -1.5 favor it won’t cover again. The overall drama that the Celtics had to endure throughout the season won’t bring them close enough together for Monday’s game as they would have hoped. Thus instead of giving yourself a 1 point leeway of betting Milwaukee +1.5, I would bet the Money Line +100 (even) because it is extremely unlikely for this game to end in a 1 point difference for the Bucks. May as well win the extra money by going all in on the Bucks, am I right?